Brian Eno and the words of Rick Holland – Drums Between The Bells

January 01, 1970



Anyone who has followed the career trajectory of Brian Eno
these last 40 years could have predicted that his productivity levels would increase
vastly after signing to Warp Records. And the studio wizard from Suffolk wasted no time in
following up his acclaimed late 2010 label debut with Padawan learners Leo
Abrahams and Jon Hopkins, the dynamic Small
Craft On A Milk Sea,
with an equally engaging sonic concept entitled Drums Between The Bells.


This one, however, revolves around the long-standing
collaborative friendship with British poet Rick Holland. The pair originally
came together to make music in 2003, after Eno discovered Holland’s work in the late ‘90s during the intercollegiate
Map-Making Project. Though none of the material on this album stems from those
initial sessions, the music on Bells is
as varied and challenging as anything Eno has done in years. As an elite prose posse
of local-level vocalists recites Holland’s poetry either in song or in spoken
word form (including old Rick himself on “Fierce Aisles of Light”),
Eno cooks up a moody array of latitudinal beds of tone that range from caustic,
Autechre-esque electronic assaults (“Glitch”, “Sounds
Alien”) to washes of pure digital warmth comparable to some of his
lesser-known ambient works in the ‘00s like Textures and Music for Prague (“The
Real, “Seedpods”) to beautiful passages for grand piano that recalls Discreet Music unplugged.


Serious Eno-philes will want to immediately bypass the
standard edition of Drums and upgrade
to the limited edition hardback version. It contains a beautifully designed
44-page book housing all of the featured poems on the album in written form
and, even better, a bonus disc graced with mildly reworked instrumental
versions of its 14 cuts.


If this is the kind of output we should come to expect from Brian
Eno during this new partnership with Warp, we are in for quite an exciting
journey into the golden years of this true icon of modern music.


DOWNLOAD: “Bless This Space”, “Glitch”, “Seedpods”,
“Fierce Aisles of Light” RON HART




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